Allotment shallots

I will start by being honest – these are not shallots we’ve grown ourselves! They are Andy’s shallots and if anybody has green fingers, it’s him.

We did grow shallots, but I’m not allowed to tell the story because it doesn’t present himself in a good light. It doesn’t present me in a good light either, but it’s even murkier light that falls on him. Maybe he’ll let me, if I ask him nicely.

Anyway, shallots – the tradition is to plant them on the shortest day (round about 21 December) and harvest on the longest (round about 21 June) and you set them in the ground like an onion, with just the tops visible. Don’t push them down into the earth unless your soil is profoundly sandy, as this damages them and can allow mould and disease to enter the bruised and broken areas.

Set about six inches apart and weeded carefully, they can otherwise be broadly ignored until the growing tops begin to yellow, which is harvest time. They keep very well and have a wonderful flavour, like onions but richer, sweeter and more nutty. If you have never grown shallots - get some! They are one of the allotment treasures that make life worthwhile: their flavour and texture are like liquid gold and you will never regret your investment.

The one thing I am not sure about is another bit of tradition – I’ve read in several places that if you want large shallots you should plant small ones, and if you want small shallots (why would you?) you should plant large ones. Does anybody know if this is true, and if so, why?


Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, November 20, 2009


Blogger Paula said...

Forgive me, but if you're not supposed to push them into the soil, how do you get them in there with just the tops showing? Do you dig a little hole and drop them in? Now I'm worried about my garlic, which I just shoved into the ground...

November 20, 2009 at 4:03 PM  
OpenID said...

I have no idea about the large versus small planting fact I don't think I have ever eaten a shallot but your description has made me want to try so IF I can find some then i may get planting as according to you I still have plenty of time so thanks for the info....dying to know what happened with your shallots?!?!?!

November 21, 2009 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Paula, yes you're supposed to scrape a little hole for them and then cover them. Same with garlic - if your soil is quite light you can just push them in, but I always prefer to take care in planting them (we're on clay) because we love onions, shallots and garlic and don't want to lose any to avoidable damage.

Tanya, shallots are gorgeous - you really should try to get some, they taste divine!

November 27, 2009 at 8:36 AM  

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